Since the coup, Malians have had no news from their now ex-president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. It was only this Thursday evening that UN representatives were able to meet him, as well as the other personalities held by the junta which took power on Tuesday, August 18. A military official also said Friday that the Minister of the Economy and the private secretary to the head of state had been released.
“Yesterday evening, a team of #Human Rights from Minusma went to #Kati as part of its mandate to protect human rights and was able to gain access to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as well as to others detained, ”the UN mission said on Twitter. This gesture by the military comes as the opposition calls for large gatherings this Friday afternoon in Bamako to “celebrate the victory of the Malian people”, three days after the fall of President Keïta, in power since 2013.
During their coup on Tuesday, the military arrested President Keïta, who then announced his resignation, and his prime minister, Boubou Cissé, as well as senior civilian and military officials, whom they took to the military camp de Kati, in the suburbs of Bamako. “We have authorized a UN human rights mission in Mali to visit all 19 prisoners in Kati, including former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and former Prime Minister Boubou Cissé”, a junta official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP. “We released two prisoners, the former Minister of Finance and Economy Abdoulaye Daffé and Sabane Mahalmoudou”, the president’s private secretary, added this source. “Two prisoners have been released. Kati has 17 left. This is proof that we respect human rights, ”he continued.
Abdoulaye Daffé is considered to be close to the Sharif of Nioro, the mentor of the figurehead of the protest who has been demanding since June the resignation of President Keïta, Imam Mahmoud Dicko.
Read also The inevitable fall of Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta
IBK “tired but serene”
The deposed president and his prime minister are still in Kati, a garrison town located about fifteen kilometers from the capital, but they have been transferred “to a villa”, where they are deprived of television, radio and telephone, according to two people who attended the visit, including a junta official.
“Their conditions of detention are acceptable,” but the Malian president, “who looked tired but serene”, does not have many spare clothes, according to one of these sources.
He was allowed to speak to an African diplomat, “from a phone that did not belong to him,” she added.
Prime Minister Boubou Cissé was “Olympian calm”, according to this witness.
The other detainees are in the premises of a training center in Kati, where they “sleep on mattresses and share the same television”, according to witnesses interviewed by AFP.
Read also Boubacar Haïdara: “IBK was totally disconnected”
The ECOWAS persists, the junta prepares the transition
The neighboring countries of Mali, meeting in an extraordinary summit, demanded Thursday the “restoration” of President Keïta and decided to send a delegation to Bamako for an “immediate return to constitutional order”.
The National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), set up by the military and led by a 37-year-old colonel, Assimi Goïta, called on the population to return to work and markets have reopened in Bamako.
Its officials met on Thursday with members of civil society and political leaders, including representatives of the majority parties supporting President Keïta.
“It was a listening encounter. We condemned the coup. But we are also ready to talk about the future. Discussions will continue, ”declared at the end of this meeting Blaise Sangare, special advisor to President Keïta and head of the Social Democratic Convention (CSD), a majority party. The junta “will set up a transitional council, with a transitional president who will be either a soldier or a civilian,” its spokesperson, Colonel Major Ismaël Wagué, said Thursday on France 24.
The military also announced the reopening on Friday of the land and air borders, even if the countries of West Africa have decided to close theirs with Mali, except for basic foodstuffs, medicines and energy.
Read also Cotta – Mali: Macron must abandon Operation Barkhane